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USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2021 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it is investing $42.3 million to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities (PDF, 255 KB). Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance.

Statement on Change to Definition of ‘Agricultural Products’ in Reporting Trade Data

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2021 — USDA and the Department of Commerce decided in December 2020 to change the way they define “agricultural products” when reporting international trade data. Beginning with the release of the January 2021 monthly trade data on March 5, USDA will adopt the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) internationally recognized definition of “agricultural products,” which includes ethanol, distilled spirits and manufactured tobacco products, three product groups not included in the current USDA definition.

COVID-19 Update: USDA, FDA Underscore Current Epidemiologic and Scientific Information Indicating No Transmission of COVID-19 Through Food or Food Packaging

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2021 — After more than a year since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a global health emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to underscore that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19.

Statement by Katharine Ferguson, USDA Chief of Staff, on the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2021 — “We are pleased to see the introduction of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act yesterday in the Senate, a bill that will bring much-needed economic assistance during the pandemic and begin to advance equity for farmers of color. The bill is the culmination of hard work and collaboration among members of the Senate and House and new leadership at USDA who share a common purpose to end inequity in our food and agricultural systems.